Kushner testified he did not recall any campaign WikiLeaks contact – CNN

Kushner testified he did not recall any campaign WikiLeaks contact – CNN

But Kushner did receive and forward an email from Donald Trump Jr. about contact Trump Jr. had with WikiLeaks, according to a new report this week and a letter from the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, was asked in July during his closed-door congressional testimony if he had any contacts with WikiLeaks or its founder Julian Assange and he responded that he had not, according to the source. He also told Congress he did not know of anyone on the campaign who had contacted WikiLeaks.
A separate source familiar with Kushner’s interview with congressional investigators said he accurately answered questions about his contact and didn’t recall anyone else in the campaign who had contact.
In a statement Friday night, Kushner attorney Abbe Lowell said the committee had asked “a classic gotcha question.
“Mr. Kushner was asked if he had contacts with Wikileaks, Guccifer or DC Leaks and said no. He also said he did not know of such contacts by the campaign. From all I have now seen, his statement was accurate then as it is now. In over 6 hours of voluntary testimony, Mr Kushner answered all questions put to him and demonstrated that there had been no collusion between the campaign and Russia.”
But Democrats are likely to amplify calls for Kushner to return for more testimony on the heels of a letter on Thursday from Senate Judiciary Committee leaders that charged Kushner failed to turn over certain documents on a range of topics to the committee, including those related to WikiLeaks.
The letter from Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the committee’s chairman, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the committee’s top Democrat, said that others had provided documents showing “September 2016 email communications to Mr. Kushner concerning WikiLeaks, which Мr. Kushner then forwarded to another campaign official.”
The campaign’s communications with WikiLeaks are under scrutiny after a report in The Atlantic earlier this week that Trump Jr. had corresponded with WikiLeaks over Twitter during the height of the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump Jr. subsequently shared his messages with WikiLeaks on Twitter.
Trump begins paying legal bills from own pocket
The same day he received the first Twitter direct message from WikiLeaks about an anti-Trump PAC, Trump Jr. emailed Kushner and other senior officials on the campaign telling them WikiLeaks had made contact, according to The Atlantic. Kushner forwarded that email to campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks, who is now White House communications director.
The contents of Trump’s Jr.’s email to Kushner and others are not known.
When Kushner went before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, the committees investigating 2016 Russian election meddling had not yet been provided with the documents referenced in the Senate Judiciary Committee letter, according to the source.
A Democratic committee source said that Kushner was interviewed at a date when the panels “did not yet have the documents we needed for the interview.”
Special counsel subpoenas Trump campaign for more documents
“We expressed at the time that it would likely be necessary to bring him back, and allegations that still further documents have yet to be provided to the committee will likely make a return to our committee all the more necessary,” the source said.
Kushner’s lawyer responded on Thursday to the letter from Grassley and Feinstein insisting Kushner has been “responsive to all requests.”
“We provided the Judiciary Committee with all relevant documents that had to do with Mr. Kushner’s calls, contacts or meetings with Russians during the campaign and transition, which was the request,” attorney Abbe Lowell said in the statement.
Kushner was interviewed behind closed doors before both the Senate and House intelligence panels in July, following the disclosure of the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting attended by Kushner, Trump Jr., Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and a Russian lawyer who was expected to offer dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Fusion GPS co-founder: Steele didn't pay sources for dossier on Trump
Kushner publicly released a lengthy opening statement when he testified that said he had “no improper contacts.”
“I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government,” Kushner said in the statement.
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s letter to Kushner seeking missing documents stems from a request the committee made to Kushner last month to provide documents connected with a range of officials and events, including the efforts by WikiLeaks and others to “obtain, disclose, or disseminate ‘hacked’ emails.”
In the letter sent to Kushner on Thursday, the committee said the information Kushner provided on November 3 “may have overlooked several documents.”
“There are several documents that are known to exist but were not included in your production,” Grassley and Feinstein wrote.
The letter also said Kushner had not provided “documents concerning a ‘Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite,'” which Kushner had forwarded, as well as communications he was copied on with Sergei Millian, who is president of the US-based Russian American Chamber of Commerce. The Washington Post reported in March that Millian could be a source in the Trump-Russia dossier.
A Senate Intelligence Committee spokeswoman declined to comment and a House Intelligence Committee spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

Published at Sat, 18 Nov 2017 00:15:50 +0000

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Alabama Senate Race Aggravates Deep Divide in Republican Party – New York Times

Alabama Senate Race Aggravates Deep Divide in Republican Party – New York Times


WASHINGTON — There was a time when the question of whether to disown a candidate accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl was fairly straightforward.

But the divisions in the Republican Party run so deep that the latest rallying cry for many on the right has become the case of Roy S. Moore, the Senate candidate in Alabama who faces allegations of preying on many young women, including a 14-year-old, when he was in his 30s.

The debate among Republicans over what to do about Mr. Moore has taken on a significance that extends far beyond Alabama’s borders. It pits ascendant forces in the party — the most conservative evangelical Christians and insurgent, anti-establishment populists — against the Republican leadership in Washington. And it is being fanned by many of the same emotions that helped stoke President Trump’s rise and election: a mistrust of government, a desire for a leader who disdains and disrupts the political status quo, and a suspicion that elected officials will stop at nothing to hold on to power.

In the center of this caldron is Mr. Moore, an unlikely and highly flawed hero for many conservatives, who have come to see him as a convenient scapegoat for Republicans in Washington who want to quash their grass-roots uprising.

“People are fed up with the ruling class in Washington and their attitude ‘We know better than you do,’” said Ed Martin, a conservative commentator and protégé of Phyllis Schlafly, a conservative icon. “They think we’re barbarians. And we’re here at the gate.”

The statement by the Alabama Republican Party on Thursday that it stood by Mr. Moore and “trusts the voters” to decide whether he should be elected to the Senate underlined the divisions between Washington and the grass roots. And the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, made clear which side Mr. Trump was on, echoing that sentiment.

In recent days, some notable figures in the conservative movement have also given Mr. Moore cover. Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s former chief strategist, who saw Mr. Moore’s upset primary victory against an establishment Republican as a turning point in the war he is waging against Washington, has told his associates that he is unwavering in his belief that Mr. Moore should fight on.

Sean Hannity of Fox News, who this week delivered Mr. Moore an ultimatum to answer for allegations of sexually predatory behavior, backed down on Wednesday night, telling his audience that Alabama voters — not him — should ultimately decide.

Those moves were a telling rebuke of Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, and other Republicans in Washington who have either called for Mr. Moore to leave the race or for his expulsion from the Senate should he be elected.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, and many other Republicans have called for Mr. Moore to withdraw from the race.CreditAl Drago for The New York Times

“This is an effort by Mitch McConnell and his cronies to steal this election from the people of Alabama and they will not stand for it!” Mr. Moore wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “I’m gonna tell you who needs to step down,” he continued in another post, “that’s Mitch McConnell.”

But many Republicans believe that trying to remove Mr. Moore from the race or expel him from the Senate if he wins would further enrage the party’s restive base and kill the small-dollar fund-raising that both political parties rely heavily on. And it would provide the kind of raw, angry grass-roots energy that Mr. Bannon says he needs to achieve his goal of ensuring that Mr. McConnell is not the Republican leader a year from now.

“Roy Moore would be a thorn in the Senate G.O.P. leadership’s side, and they would be happy to expel him hoping to both dissuade others and put down the Bannon rebellion,” said Erick Erickson, the Christian conservative writer and radio host who has argued that the debate over Mr. Moore should be viewed in the context of the much larger and more pitched battle between the party’s establishment and anti-establishment wings.

Party leaders, Mr. Erickson added, “are not as interested in the long-term consequences.” They just want to send a signal by defeating Mr. Moore that the conservative insurrection can and will be crushed, he added. Writing on his website recently, Mr. Erickson said, “I don’t blame the Roy Moore voters for thinking people are out to get them because people really are out to get them.”

Mr. Erickson, like Mr. Bannon, did not initially support Mr. Moore when the primary for the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, was a three-way contest. In the first round of voting, it was Mr. Moore against Senator Luther Strange, who was appointed to the seat and was supported by Mr. McConnell, and Representative Mo Brooks, a conservative favorite who is much less unpredictable and polarizing. But after Mr. Brooks did not make the runoff, conservatives say, they rallied behind Mr. Moore because of what he represents to them: someone who is under attack from the same Republicans they believe have long tried to marginalize religious conservatives.

That sense of marginalization is real for many. A caller into Rush Limbaugh’s radio program on Tuesday expressed similar suspicions, saying he believed Mr. Moore’s ouster would be the beginning of a purge of the party’s right wing. “But my worry,” said the caller, who identified himself as Jim from Missouri, “is the so-called conservatives in Congress are going to fall prey to this and throw this man under the bus. And then they’ll forever set a precedent for getting rid of conservative people that we might try to elect.”

Many on the right have openly wrestled with how quickly Mr. Moore should be judged and condemned.

“I think it’s complicated, and that is 100 percent the truth,” said Penny Young Nance, the president of Concerned Women for America, a Christian conservative group.

Ms. Nance said many conservatives were weighing a number of arguments and counterarguments: a suspicion of the national news media against the sense that Mr. Moore’s accusers seem credible, the fact that the 1970s and ‘80s, when he is accused of committing the acts, was “a different time,” and the fact that Republican Party leaders have tried to thwart him repeatedly throughout his career.

“It’s also about the people of Alabama making their own decisions instead of Washington foisting its opinion on them,” Ms. Nance added. “They need to decide. That’s part of what makes them so angry: Washington bureaucrats and elitists telling them what they need to do.”

The inclination to dig in on Mr. Moore could also be a symptom of a larger cultural shift in politics. Americans are more likely now to say that elected officials can still do their jobs in an ethical manner even if they have committed immoral personal acts, research has found. And no group seems to have come around on this question more drastically than white evangelical Protestants, according to one survey conducted before the election last year by the Public Religion Research Institute and Brookings.

More than seven in 10 were willing to overlook transgressions in a politician’s personal life, the survey said, compared with three in 10 who were asked the same question in 2011.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A17 of the New York edition with the headline: Alabama Senate Race Aggravates a Deep Divide in the Republican Party. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe


Published at Fri, 17 Nov 2017 22:46:40 +0000

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Published at Sat, 18 Nov 2017 00:24:42 +0000

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